For a patient dealing with the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer or other condition, keeping on top of the plethora of information, tracking appointments and dealing with insurance is almost as hard as dealing with the disease itself. A patient facing a major health crisis should be able to concentrate on getting well, and so many medical centers, hospitals and health insurance companies provide patient representative services. The patient representative fulfills a variety of roles, including assisting with medical paperwork, setting up appointments, filing insurance claims and keeping track of treatment plans. Patient representatives can opt to gain certification as a patient representative from several providers.
Healthcare Financial Management Association
Reps looking for employment within a hospital or medical center benefit from certifications like the Certified Patient Account Representative designation from the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s state chapters. The certification requires taking and passing a 100-question online exam in three hours or less. After registering for and purchasing the exam, participants get access to a study guide, coaching sessions and practice tests. The exam takes place once a year and after passing, patient reps have the option of taking continuing education classes to gain even more know-how.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management offers two certification programs suitable for patient reps working with patient accounts -- the Certified Patient Account Technician and Certified Patient Account Manager. The technician designation requires registering with the association and taking a three-part, 120-question online exam. The group also recommends working in patient accounts for at least one year before taking the exam. The manager certification requires applicants to be a member of the association, have four years of professional experience or two years of experience and a two-year health degree. The manager exam consists of four sections and students must complete it in eight hours or less. To help test-takers prepare for each exam, the association sells study guides and materials.
Hometown Health University
The Hometown Health University, which offers a number of different medical certifications, sponsors the Patient Access Specialist certification. The designation is an online program that takes six weeks to complete. Participants must finish each of the 10 sections as well as an activity sheet in 50 days to earn the certification. The sections cover topics including customer service, HIPAA rules and regulations and medical terminology. The program concludes with a final certification exam over all the course topics.
Specialty certifications also exist, like the Food and Drug Administration Patient Representative Program. The FDA program trains patient reps to sit on FDA advisory boards that study particular diseases and conditions. The patient reps shape rules and regulations that affect all patients in the United States. Patient representatives may nominate themselves for the program by submitting a resume and document explaining their personal experience with a life-threatening disease or condition and previous experience in patient advocacy. Numerous schools, like the Community College of Philadelphia, offer Patient Representative Certificate programs that provide training and a degree in patient representative services.
- Cleveland.com: Patient Service Representatives are Frontline Caregivers
- Food and Drug Administration: Patient Representative Program
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management: Certified Patient Account Technician
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management: Certified Patient Accounts Manager
- Community College of Philadelphia: Patient Service Representative Certificate
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.